a space to share thoughts and ideas and to stimulate discussion around the space where business meets society. And to think collectively and creatively about how to create and preserve value at the meeting/collision point where business meets society.
I regularly get queries from individuals wanting to begin a career in Corporate
Social Responsibility or a related field.
I had good information on how to do that, but I’m not sure that I do.
There are a lot of people wanting into CSR and not a lot of paying,
or even volunteer opportunities right now.
We’ve recently had a few projects slowdown or stall and I think the
same is happening to many projects, as many industries, especially extractives,
are facing slowdown and budget crunches.
for what it is worth I have summarized some of my recent responses (I try to
respond to everyone but do run out of time so thought I would make a post on
My advice is to focus on value. Find places where you think you can add value
and that are interesting and then get involved in them.
keep your eyes open for the ones that are able to monetize the value you
can help create and that may be able to share some of it with you (e.g.,
pay you!). I realize that sounds vague.
me share a bit of my story below in case it may be helpful. If interested, you can find more of my story here in an autobiographical address to the
50th Anniversary Celebration of the Sloan Fellowship Program at
Stanford Business School.
Thirty years ago when I decided I wanted to get involved in the space
where business meets society I started by working with Indigenous
Peoples. I started in Canada and it soon turned international and global.
because while there was lots of value that I could create they (Indigenous
Peoples) seldom had the financial resources to pay me to do the work and
the monetizing of it was too often distant, cloudy and cumbersome.
And, when I could find funding for it they also wanted access to the funding
(and they had a need as well) and that often created challenges. I was often in a situation where I was
literally competing with my client for resources that we both needed. Not fun, not sustainable and too easy for
both of us to lose site of the original objectives that brought us together.
So, I stepped back and ended up, in about 1998, deciding that the extractive
sector was the best place for me to add value as they had real costs and
problems when trouble happened where they met with society – and this was a new
area for them at the time.
Still a struggle but that at least gave me a focal point and clients/industry
that were able to monetize value I could create.
Anyway, something to think about. Stay involved, stay engaged, read, write,
network and always, always, always, look at value that can be created, and
monetized and that you can find a way to share in.
But, be sure to start from where and how you can serve. Then narrow that to how serving others can
also serve you.
to think of it, that is a good strategy for life in general!
Hopefully this has all been helpful.
of luck with the search, and with the future that will unfold in front of you,
day by day, as you go about the search. (I didn't want to make this post promotional so I didn't mention the CSR training that we provide. If that is interesting you can see upcoming programs here)